Like most good stories mine started with a girl.
I was lucky enough to be born into an amazing dog family starting with my grandmother Lorraine who was one of the best trainers I ever met. I married Gwen with a heart full of dreams and she gave me the courage to start the journey. I was born into the world of dog handling. We met at a dog show when Gwen and I were teens and it was love at first sight for me. She had a boyfriend. That would soon change. We dated on and off for several years and had lost touch… until another dog show. She didn’t have a ring on her finger yet and that too would soon change. Today, we have our son Luke and all kinds of amazing experiences.
We were newlyweds and Gwen had her teaching job we had bought our first house when I knew I was ready to own my first pet care facility.
We started out together owning Meyer’s in 1996. It was just us and 3 other staff and the day after our 1st anniversary we purchased our Wisconsin facility Meyer’s Animal House from our dear friends. What’s one more. We were young and really loved what we were born to do.
We soon added to the farm our training building and doggy daycare. We felt like we “aren’t in Kansas anymore” to coin a phrase. Things were growing and some dreams were coming true. Our part of the business being professional dog handlers was starting to take off. We soon grew to a staff of 12 and some of them still are on this ride with us.
Year three ended with another endeavor for a great customer from Roscoe, IL. He wanted to know if we had ever thought of opening anything up in the area. Main Street in this sweet little town would be a great spot. Canine Colony, the one from scratch was a huge learning experience but it turned out to be the best little farmhouse we ever laid eyes on.
Then the talk started. Lots of plans and dreams lay in wait but so did a possible I-90 full interchange at Irene Road. Major things needed to wait but this is when we learned to be guides, being mentored by world-renown animal behaviorists and help people foster their relationships with dogs and develop classes, our teams and smaller but unique offerings like the Outpost Suites.
We had been busy growing the facilities and our team when we found out 13 years into our marriage we were expecting. Along came Luke, the greatest joy.
What began as five on a farm is now forty-five and counting in two states with three locations. We love what we do, really love it. Doing work that matters. More dreams to come is exciting. The work is hard, the ride has had its ups and downs, and we couldn’t be happier to sit where we sit helping pet owners being the hero in their dogs life. Thanks for reading our story. We’d love to hear yours.